Sometime within the last several months I stumbled upon a valuable truth: Writers must be just as creative with their marketing strategy as they are with their plot development!
This is true not only for independently-published authors, but traditionally-published authors as well. Gone are the days when book signings and author visits were set up for the writer...unless you have celebrity status, of course. However, this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Since the author knows her book better than anyone, and also the geographic area she lives in, there are numerous opportunities, if she does just a bit of research.
Ways to help you be creative with marketing strategy:
Genre - What is your book's genre? Is it fantasy? Look into promoting your book at one of the Faerie World or Renaissance Fairs. Is it a Sci-Fi? Look into promoting your novel at one of the numerous annual events that cater to Science Fiction buffs. You get the idea.
Location - What is the setting for your book? If it's a real place, would it serve as a good location to promote your book? Is it set in a ski resort? Look into selling your book in ski lodge gift shops. (My W.I.P. is set in a National Park. If the novel is published, I hope to get it into the gift shops in numerous National Parks.)
Sports/Hobbies - Is your protagonist an ice skater? Well, what about getting your book featured in a magazine that targets that sport? Obviously any sport would do. Hobbies would work the same way. Is your protagonist an avid knitter? Musician? Artist? Be creative and use your imagination as to where you might find readers who have those interests. Then contact the appropriate club, fair, magazine, store, school, etc.
Event - Does your story occur during a set event or holiday? Christmas? Fourth of July? Summer Solstice? Major sporting event? Aligning the release of your book to occur with an event that's included in your story is a great way to create a buzz. You might even find an event (like a county fair for the Fourth of July), where you could market your book.
Culture - If you follow my blog, then you're well aware that my children's book The Scandinavian Santa was recently published. A few months ago it dawned on me that I was not limited to bookstores and libraries to promote my book, so I began connecting with shops and organizations that identify with the Scandinavian culture. I had no idea what a wealth of opportunities were available to me within the Scandinavian community right here in my own area. Before I knew it, I had a number of events lined up - all generated from researching the Scandinavian culture here in the Pacific Northwest. Last weekend, my husband and I were vendors at the Portland ScanFair. We set up our booth, and basically had a two-day book sale and signing.
Here are some photos from our time at the Portland ScanFair:
Prior to ScanFair, the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation issued their regular newsletter. Unbeknownst to me, someone had a clever ten-year-old (Elden Parker) read and review The Scandinavian Santa!
I couldn't have asked for a better promotion. I did not request this, or pay for it, but I'll accept it!
If you're a published author, being creative with your marketing strategy is a must - but it can be a ton of fun, too!